Friday, July 19, 2013

Kindness in Unexpected Places: A Story of Profiling and Sheer Stupidity

I haven't updated in a while, and this has nothing to do with photography whatsoever, but I felt that it was an important story to share with everyone.

I was at Walmart in Hooksett today doing some shopping. As I left I noticed four guys crowded around the passenger window of the minivan that was parked next to me. They were sticking their hands in the window and I thought they had locked their keys inside and were trying to unlock the door. I excused myself because they were in the way of my driver's side door.

One of the guys looked at me and asked if I had any water. There was a desperation to his tone. Fortunately I did have a bottle of water that I had just bought. I started to hand it to him but he shook his head. He took his baseball cap off, turned it upside down, and asked me to pour the water in it. I thought it was a bit odd, but I used to do the same thing on really hot days. I started to pour the water into his cap when all of a sudden this giant tongue darted out of the very small crack in the window of the van. There was a dog inside. On a 97 degree day. A big dog, looked to be a Bull Mastiff or something of that variety. The dog was panting heavily. We tried to give him as much water as we could but he couldn't fit much of his enormous snout through the very small window opening that his careless owner had left.

I should mention this as it becomes important for what happened next. All four guys were dressed in baggy shorts, had chains around their necks and for their wallets, and all had baseball caps that were either backwards or sideways. Three were white, one was Hispanic.

The owner of the van finally came out of the store. We had been trying to give the dog water for ten minutes and according to the guy I was helping, they had been out there for at least another 20. They had gone inside the store and told customer service about the incident but no one came to the desk when their plate was announced over the speaker. Just as the owner was coming out one of the guys was getting his cell out to call the cops.

She notices all of us around her window and starts screaming at us. "What are you hoodlums doing? Are you trying to steal my van? Get the hell away from my car you lowlifes!" Other obscenities flew. One of the guys started yelling right back about how careless she was for leaving her poor dog in the car. A screaming match between the six of us ensued for a good five minutes, other customers gathered to watch. The woman got into her van, flipped us off, and sped off. We all just stood dumbfounded. One of the guys called the cops anyway and gave them her plate number.

It appeared that she had seen what these guys were wearing and decided that they were up to no good when she started screaming. She never looked at me. I was in a dress with Cody by my side. Profiling seemed to be what was happening. The guys thanked me for my help and we all went to our cars and took off.

I am sharing this story for a couple of reasons.

1. Don't judge people before you get to know them. You don't know who they are just by how they dress.
2. DON'T leave an animal or child in a hot car!
3. When you are in a parking lot, scan cars to make sure no one has left something in the car that they shouldn't have.

Even with all of the warnings on the news this week about not leaving children or pets in the car during the heat, this thoughtless woman still did it anyway. Fortunately for the dog, there were four extremely caring men who were willing to help him even though their owner was extremely rude.

Watch for kids and animals in cars, call the police if you see one.

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